Project description:Diverse microbial consortia profoundly influence animal biology, necessitating an understanding of microbiome variation in studies of animal adaptation. Yet, little is known about such variability among fish, in spite of their importance in aquatic ecosystems. The Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticulata, is an intriguing candidate to test microbiome-related hypotheses on the drivers and consequences of animal adaptation, given the recent parallel origins of a similar ecotype across streams. To assess the relationships between the microbiome and host adaptation, we used 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to characterize gut bacteria of two guppy ecotypes with known divergence in diet, life history, physiology and morphology collected from low-predation (LP) and high-predation (HP) habitats in four Trinidadian streams. Guts were populated by several recurring, core bacteria that are related to other fish associates and rarely detected in the environment. Although gut communities of lab-reared guppies differed from those in the wild, microbiome divergence between ecotypes from the same stream was evident under identical rearing conditions, suggesting host genetic divergence can affect associations with gut bacteria. In the field, gut communities varied over time, across streams and between ecotypes in a stream-specific manner. This latter finding, along with PICRUSt predictions of metagenome function, argues against strong parallelism of the gut microbiome in association with LP ecotype evolution. Thus, bacteria cannot be invoked in facilitating the heightened reliance of LP guppies on lower-quality diets. We argue that the macroevolutionary microbiome convergence seen across animals with similar diets may be a signature of secondary microbial shifts arising some time after host-driven adaptation.
Project description:Human activities interfere with wild animals and lead to the loss of many animal populations. Therefore, efforts have been made to understand how wildlife can rebound from anthropogenic disturbances. An essential mechanism to adapt to environmental and social changes is the fluctuations in the host gut microbiome. Here we give a comprehensive description of anthropogenically induced microbiome alterations in Asian elephants (n?=?30). We detected gut microbial changes due to overseas translocation, captivity and deworming. We found that microbes belonging to Planococcaceae had the highest contribution in the microbiome alterations after translocation, while Clostridiaceae, Spirochaetaceae and Bacteroidia were the most affected after captivity. However, deworming significantly changed the abundance of Flavobacteriaceae, Sphingobacteriaceae, Xanthomonadaceae, Weeksellaceae and Burkholderiaceae. These findings may provide fundamental ideas to help guide the preservation tactics and probiotic replacement therapies of a dysbiosed gut microbiome in Asian elephants. More generally, these results show the severity of anthropogenic activities at the level of gut microbiome, altering the adaptation processes to new environments and the subsequent capability to maintain normal physiological processes in animals.
Project description:Gut microbiota has been reported to contribute to reduced diet-induced obesity upon cold exposure. Furthermore, gut microbiome fermentation determines the efficacy of exercise for diabetes prevention and enhances exercise performance. However, there have been no systematic examinations of changes in gut microbiome composition in relation to exercise performed under low-temperature conditions. In this study, we investigated the effects of exercise performed under different conditions (room temperature, acute cold, intermittent cold, and sustained cold) in obese rats maintained on a high-fat diet at four time points during experimental trials (days 0, 1, 3, and 35), including observations on white fat browning, weight loss, cardiovascular effects, and changes in gut microbiota among treatment groups. We found that exercise under sustained cold conditions produced a remarkable shift in microbiota composition. Unexpectedly, exercise was found to reverse the alterations in gut microbiota alpha-diversity and the abundance of certain bacterial phyla observed in response to cold exposure (e.g., Proteobacteria decreased upon cold exposure but increased in response to exercise under cold conditions). Moreover, exercise under cold conditions (hereafter referred to "cold exercise") promoted a considerably higher level of white fat browning and greater weight loss and protected against the negative cardiovascular effects of cold exposure. Correlation analysis revealed that cold exercise-related changes in gut microbial communities were significantly correlated with white fat browning and cardiovascular phenotypes. These results could reveal novel mechanisms whereby additional health benefits attributable to both cold and exercise are mediated via altered gut microbes differently compared with either of them alone.
Project description:The gut microbial composition and function are shaped by different factors (e.g., host diet and phylogeny). Gut microbes play an important role in host nutrition and development. The gut microbiome may be used to evaluate the host potential environmental adaptation. In this study, we focused on the coevolution of the gut microbiome of captive and translocated Père David's deer populations (Elaphurus davidianus; Chinese: Père David's deer). To address this, we used several different macro- and micro-ecological approaches (landscape ecology, nutritional methods, microscopy, isotopic analysis, and metagenomics). In this long-term study (2011-2014), we observed some dissimilarities in gut microbiome community and function between the captive and wild/translocated Dafeng Père David's deer populations. These differences might link microbiome composition with deer diet within a given season. The proportion of genes coding for putative enzymes (endoglucanase, beta-glucosidase, and cellulose 1,4-beta-cellobiosidase) involved in cellulose digestion in the gut microbiome of the captive populations was higher than that of the translocated population, possibly because of the high proportion of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin in the plants most consumed by the captive populations. However, the two enzymes (natA and natB) involved in sodium transport system were enriched in the gut microbiome in translocated population, possibly because of their high salt diet (e.g., Spartina alterniflora). Thus, our results suggested that Père David's deer gut microorganisms potentially coevolved with host diet, and reflected the local adaptation of translocated population in the new environment (e.g., new dietary plants: Spartina alterniflora). A current problem for Père David's deer conservation is the saturation of captive populations. Given that the putative evolutionary adaptation of Père David's deer gut microbiome and its possible applications in conservation, the large area of wetlands along the Yellow Sea dominated by S. alterniflora might be the major translocation region in the future.
Project description:Long-term dietary intake influences the structure and activity of the trillions of microorganisms residing in the human gut, but it remains unclear how rapidly and reproducibly the human gut microbiome responds to short-term macronutrient change. Here we show that the short-term consumption of diets composed entirely of animal or plant products alters microbial community structure and overwhelms inter-individual differences in microbial gene expression. The animal-based diet increased the abundance of bile-tolerant microorganisms (Alistipes, Bilophila and Bacteroides) and decreased the levels of Firmicutes that metabolize dietary plant polysaccharides (Roseburia, Eubacterium rectale and Ruminococcus bromii). Microbial activity mirrored differences between herbivorous and carnivorous mammals, reflecting trade-offs between carbohydrate and protein fermentation. Foodborne microbes from both diets transiently colonized the gut, including bacteria, fungi and even viruses. Finally, increases in the abundance and activity of Bilophila wadsworthia on the animal-based diet support a link between dietary fat, bile acids and the outgrowth of microorganisms capable of triggering inflammatory bowel disease. In concert, these results demonstrate that the gut microbiome can rapidly respond to altered diet, potentially facilitating the diversity of human dietary lifestyles. RNA-Seq analysis of the human gut microbiome during consumption of a plant- or animal-based diet.
Project description:The hologenome concept proposes that microbes and their host organism are an independent unit of selection. Motivated by this concept, we hypothesized that thermal acclimation in poikilothermic organisms, owing to their inability to maintain their body temperature, is connected to their microbiome composition. To test this hypothesis, we used a unique experimental setup with a transgenerational selective breeding scheme for cold tolerance in tropical tilapias. We tested the effects of the selection on the gut microbiome and on host transcriptomic response. Interestingly, we found that host genetic selection for thermal tolerance shapes the microbiome composition and its response to cold. The microbiomes of cold-resistant fish showed higher resilience to temperature changes, indicating that the microbiome is shaped by its host's selection. These findings are consistent with the hologenome concept and highlight the connection between the host and its microbiome's response to the environment.
Project description:As a natural hibernator, the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) is an ideal and intriguing model to investigate changes in microbial community structure and function caused by hibernation. In this study, we used 16S rRNA profiling and metagenomic analysis to compare the composition, diversity, and functional capacity in the gut microbiome of hibernating vs. active Chinese alligators. Our results show that gut microbial communities undergo seasonal restructuring in response to seasonal cycles of feeding and fasting in the Chinese alligator, but this animal harbors a core gut microbial community primarily dominated by Proteobacteria, Fusobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes across the gut regions. During hibernation, there is an increase in the abundance of bacterial taxa (e.g., the genus Bacteroides) that can degrade host mucin glycans, which allows adaptation to winter fasting. This is accompanied by the enrichment of mucin oligosaccharide-degrading enzyme and carbohydrate-active enzyme families. In contrast, during the active phase (feeding), active Chinese alligators exhibit a carnivore gut microbiome dominated by Fusobacteria, and there is an increase in the relative abundance of bacteria (e.g., Cetobacterium somerae) with known proteolytic and amino acids-fermentating functions that improve host protein-rich food digestion efficiency. In addition, seasonal variations in the expression of ?-defensins play a protective role in intestinal immunity. These findings provide insights into the functional adaptations of host-gut microbe symbioses to seasonal dietary shifts to maintain gut homeostasis and health, especially in extreme physiological states.
Project description:The gut microbiome is rapidly becoming the focus of interest as a possible factor involved in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. Recent understanding of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia emphasizes the role of systemic components, including immune/inflammatory and metabolic processes, which are influenced by and interacting with the gut microbiome. Here we systematically review the current literature on the gut microbiome in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and in their animal models. We found that the gut microbiome is altered in psychosis compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, we identified potential factors related to psychosis, which may contribute to the gut microbiome alterations. However, further research is needed to establish the disease-specificity and potential causal relationships between changes of the microbiome and disease pathophysiology. This can open up the possibility of. manipulating the gut microbiome for improved symptom control and for the development of novel therapeutic approaches in schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders.
Project description:The worldwide prevalence of metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity and its associated diseases, is rising rapidly. The human gut microbiome is recognized as an independent environmental modulator of host metabolic health and disease. Research in animal models has demonstrated that the gut microbiome has the functional capacity to induce or relieve metabolic syndrome. One way to modify the human gut microbiome is by transplanting fecal matter, which contains an abundance of live microorganisms, from a healthy individual to a diseased one in the hopes of alleviating illness. Here we review recent evidence suggesting efficacy of fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in animal models and humans for the treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders.
Project description:The mechanisms by which different microbes colonize the healthy human gut versus other body sites, the gut in disease states, or other environments remain largely unknown. Identifying microbial genes influencing fitness in the gut could lead to new ways to engineer probiotics or disrupt pathogenesis. We approach this problem by measuring the statistical association between a species having a gene and the probability that the species is present in the gut microbiome. The challenge is that closely related species tend to be jointly present or absent in the microbiome and also share many genes, only a subset of which are involved in gut adaptation. We show that this phylogenetic correlation indeed leads to many false discoveries and propose phylogenetic linear regression as a powerful solution. To apply this method across the bacterial tree of life, where most species have not been experimentally phenotyped, we use metagenomes from hundreds of people to quantify each species' prevalence in and specificity for the gut microbiome. This analysis reveals thousands of genes potentially involved in adaptation to the gut across species, including many novel candidates as well as processes known to contribute to fitness of gut bacteria, such as acid tolerance in Bacteroidetes and sporulation in Firmicutes. We also find microbial genes associated with a preference for the gut over other body sites, which are significantly enriched for genes linked to fitness in an in vivo competition experiment. Finally, we identify gene families associated with higher prevalence in patients with Crohn's disease, including Proteobacterial genes involved in conjugation and fimbria regulation, processes previously linked to inflammation. These gene targets may represent new avenues for modulating host colonization and disease. Our strategy of combining metagenomics with phylogenetic modeling is general and can be used to identify genes associated with adaptation to any environment.